An Ode to Coffee
Coffee. Coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee. Coffee?! Coffee!
That’s… usually how many mornings start. I mean, sure, I’m responsible. I brush my teeth, I feed the cats, I might even check in on my work email. But my first thought in the morning (and, therefore, my first stop) is always the coffee pot.
These days, I’ve been favoring Peace Coffee’s Ethiopia blend. In fact, I like this flavor so much, I bought a five pound bag of beans (that might not sound like much… but it’s a big bag of coffee for one person).
How to Get the Most Out of Your Coffee
If you’re like me, your coffee is precious. So you want to get the biggest bang for your buck (flavor-wise) from your coffee as you can. There are two ways you can get the most out of your coffee, in my humble opinion as a coffee fan.
- Brew good coffee: How you prepare your coffee is going to make a huge difference in terms of how it’s going to taste. Now, I’m not going to be a purist and tell you that you have to use whole beans or that a french press (also known as a coffee press, plunger press, or press pot) is a must or anything like that. True, those little extras might make your coffee taste better. But they also require time. And the nature of coffee is that you’ll be brewing your pot during that time of day when you have the least desire to expend energy (we aren’t morning people around here). So, the point is, it’s okay to use ground coffee if you just don’t have the energy to grind your own beans. But grinding your own beans will make your coffee taste better. It all depends on how much energy you’ve got. (That said, the actual grind of the coffee can also impact the taste–overly ground coffee can create a bitter flavor, as I may have learned from experience.)
- Make something tasty with coffee: Coffee isn’t just an amazing beverage. It’s also an amazing ingredient. The bitter notes in most coffees are going to bring an amazing amount of balance to a wide variety of dessert recipes, for example. Any dessert that heavily features chocolate can quickly be made to feel a bit more grown up with the addition of some coffee. In general, the higher quality your coffee is, the better your end result will taste, so it’s all right to indulge and splurge when you know you’ll be baking (or cooking?) with coffee.
Why Do We Like Coffee?
According to Captain Kathryn Janeway, coffee is the finest liquid suspension ever devised. And I’m hard pressed to argue.
I’ve been buying most of my coffee from Peace Coffee for the past couple of years. I like them for a few reasons: they’re fair trade (which is nice). They’re organic (which, honestly, I don’t really care all that much about… I mean, I sort of do, but not a ton–in fact, I’d rather make sure they were sustainable than organic). They’re local. And, most importantly, their coffee tastes delicious.
Of course, that begs the question: why do any of us like any coffee? Well, that’s something of a legend in and of itself. Turns out, we can trace the origin of domesticated coffee back to Ethiopia and Kenya–probably. The first coffee houses started to show up in Europe around the 16th century or so. And it’s not terribly hard to connect the dots from 16th century coffee houses to today’s coffee shops. There’s little doubt that the caffeine in brewed coffee made it quite an appealing drink. And, you know, still does.
But just because coffee’s been around for centuries doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll have it forever. Thanks in large part to climate change, coffee is becoming harder and harder to grow.
How Does Climate Change Impact Coffee?
Coffee is a particularly sensitive plant. It requires a pretty narrow range of temperatures, humidity, and sunlight to thrive. Which is why, most often, you’ll see coffee grown most successfully in equatorial regions around the world. (Remember how the coffee I liked was an Ethiopian blend?)
As the climate changes, these equatorial regions are becoming hotter and dryer (or in some cases, hotter and wetter due to more powerful storm cycles–either way, it’s no good). This severely limits the land available for growing coffee. It also means that yields where coffee can grow are often compromised.
For you and me (the average consumer), this probably means two things: the coffee we know and love is likely to change. And it’s also likely to grow more expensive.
What You Can Do to Save Coffee
So there are all kinds of things we can do with coffee. But there’s also something we should do for coffee. Let’s put it this way: if you want coffee to be around in twenty years, we need to make some serious environmental changes around here.
So what can you do (besides plant trees and lower your carbon footprint and rewild your yard)? Well, consider donating to these organizations:
Giving Green – https://www.idinsight.org/givinggreen
Impact Matters – https://www.impactmatters.org/top-lists/climate-change/
Coalition for Rainforest Nations – https://www.rainforestcoalition.org/
The Rainforest Foundation – https://rainforestfoundation.org/